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Climate-Smart Agri-Food Systems

Agricultural production is closely tied to global challenges regarding increasing population and prosperity, both of which increase the demand for food, biofuel and biomaterials. Agricultural production is responsible for approximately one fourth of all global greenhouse gas emissions and has a large impact on the loss of global biodiversity. In addition, the climate is changing, which in some regions gives better and other regions worse conditions for agricultural production. 

The Department of Agroecology provides insight into the interactions between climate and agricultural production, including production systems that can improve resource use efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and help us adapt to climate change. The department also provides methods for quantifying the overall climate and environmental effects that are related to the production of food and biobased materials, and how various players in the supply chain can develop ways of collaborating to improve resource use efficiency, credibility and value creation. 


The Department of Agroecology has access to a range of experimental and model-based facilities for elucidating the interaction between climate and agriculture and which can provide a basis for new solutions. These facilities comprise: 

Long-term field studies and their corresponding data archives which provide the basis for estimating effects of climate variation and measuring the impact of climate in cropping systems:  

  • Studies with various types and amounts of fertilizer (various crops) (Askov)
  • Crop rotation and soil tillage (Foulum and Flakkebjerg)
  • Crop rotation for the production of biomass crops (Foulum and Flakkebjerg)
  • Organic and conventional crop rotation (Foulum)
  • Crop rotation in organic cattle farming (Foulum) 

Semi-field facilities that enable elucidation of the interaction between climate, soil, and crops under controlled conditions: 

  • Climate chambers in which light, temperature, humidity and CO2 can be controlled
  • Lysimeters with various soil types and where precipitation can be controlled
  • Lysimeters with various histories, such as addition of biochar and increased content of various carbon isotopes

Measuring equipment for quantification of greenhouse gases and plant growth: 

  • Measurement of photosynthesis and ecosystem assimilation using various kinds of chamber-based methods
  • Measurement of soil respiration (CO2 development)
  • Measurement of nitrous oxide and methane using chamber methods, including measurement of various nitrogen isotopes in nitrous oxide

Models that enable quantification of the climate footprint of agriculture and foodstuffs as well as how climate changes affect plant growth and the impact of agriculture on the environment: 

  • Life cycle analyses and databases regarding climate footprints of food and biobased products
  • Soil carbon model (C-TOOL)
  • Farm models for calculating the impact of agriculture on the climate (FarmAC, FASSET)
  • Simulation models for quantifying crop production as well as carbon and nitrogen flows during climate changes (FASSET, Daisy)